Monday, November 5, 2007

Sterile Desert

Sunday November 4 2007


I can just hear them, city people driving through the deserts of southern Idaho, Nevada, southern California, rushing to Las Vegas or LA or Salt Lake City. "Ugh, it's so ugly! There's nothing out there." Nothing but dry, dry land, rocks and sand, brown scrub or cactus or sage. No life. Barren. Depressing.

But the secret is, you go up into those hot dry bare hills or mountains, find a rich canyon, or just walk over one of those little hills, and you might see all of this in a week without trying:

A long-eared owl that flew RIGHT OVER ME in a canyon in the daylight. Right after which a Raven was heard to be badgering him. I yelled down the canyon, "Hey Raven! Stop pestering that owl!" At which point the Raven flew out of the canyon, alighted in a tree and regarded me for a time. Had to have been Hoss the Raven.

Along the Snake river (while riding through 3 separate eagle territories): 2 Northern Harriers, a blue heron, many coots (how can you not like a bird with that name), a Cormorant Convention (a row of cormorants sitting on a cable across the river), an osprey nest on a pole (unoccupied, it's not nesting season) - they like to decorate their nests with twine.

Cooper's Hawk (twice) in a golden tree in a golden canyon, being haughtily ignored by 2 Ravens.

Numerous kestrels, red-tailed hawks.

Many does; one lone big buck with a BIG rack.

A golden eagle! Sitting on the top of a hill below where we rode, she took off as we approached, and flew away. But then she worked her way back towards us, (with a Raven circling over her for a time), spiraling closer and closer, doing wing-hang time over us, taking a good look at us. "Give me a feather!" I yelled at her. Today she didn't. Tomorrow she might.

City folks driving by fast: "(Shudder) I hope we don't break down here! Must be awful to live out here."

Well, somebody's gotta do it. But we who do'll just keep our desert secrets.

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